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Not quite dry yet…and I still can’t decide about those colours.

I knew I needed my 4mm needle for the upcoming Rock Island cast on, so even though I was using it for the Damson shawl, it was no big deal. I was going to put it on some waste yarn. Then something came over me: why not just finish Damson to free the needle?

I put in so many knitting hours this past week that I finally had to teach myself to knit continental to save my poor cramped right hand. I predict a Carson Demers workshop is in my future – the one on how to knit without hurting yourself.

Still trying to reserve judgement until I can wear it, but I’m fairly unenthusiastic about this one. The size is a bit small, which I knew going into it; usually I find more substantial shawls to be more stylish. Good thing my needle is free to start gargantuan Rock Island tonight.

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I’ve been swatching for a pattern I cooked up. But more on the project later – I want to talk about swatch gauge.

Some project gauges are given in the project stitch (maybe seed stitch or a cable), which others give it in stockinette stitch. I swatch like it’s a religion, so this has always bothered me a bit. The argument is that people might knit up pattern swatches at a different tension than a stockinette swatch; if the pattern is all over the garment, it could affect the final size. So many designers give gauge in the dominant stitch pattern.

But my instinct is to go with a stockinette gauge, and here’s why:

1. The gauge given on the ball band of the yarn is based on stockinette stitch. You need to know this if you’re going to use a different yarn than the one suggested.
2. Pattern stitches can be much/less stretchier than stockinette stitch. For example, lace or cables. My cable swatch could realistically be blocked anywhere from 3.5 to 5″. And it really depends on the amount of ease designed into a given garment. Did the designer intend the cable to be stretched a bit and fit snugly (e.g. a hat/toque)? Or was it intended to hang loosely from the body?
3. What if the pattern has multiple stitch patterns? Are knitters going to knit up a swatch in each stitch pattern? Yeah, I didn’t think so.

A search on a few Ravelry forums found a bit of discussion on this; some like pattern gauge, some like stockinette gauge. However, several people concluded that, as knitters, they would like to see gauge given in both stockinette and the pattern stitch. But…see #3 above. Really, it comes down to the fact that no one (not even me) is going to do two swatches for a project. A lot of people don’t even do one. So I’m going to go out on a limb and just give the stockinette gauge for this pattern.

When I’m not knitting swatches lately, I’m trying to find a sock pattern to knit this lovely up:

sweetgeorgia tough love sock

 

I’m home sick with a cold today. It’s not so bad.

In between naps and soup breaks, I can:

Weave in ends. And more ends.

Wash and block the reindeer sweater.

Finish the thumb on my left Bella’s mitten.

As you can see, the reindeer sweater is nearly done. As soon as I’m better, I’m off to buy a zipper. On a related note, my mom gave me a beautiful *authentic* Cowichan sweater for Christmas. It really is lovely and I’ll try to get a photo of it up here soon.

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